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  #1  
Old March 9th, 2013, 09:36 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Default Gillian Wearing: Photographer of People's Self-Expression in Staged Situations!

The much awaited major retrospective of the deep searching emotional worlds of Gillian Wearing is about to open this March 20th, 2013, in Munich. Her works have been collected from owners all over the world just for this show. I decided to put together an introduction to this celebrated photographer's work and set myself the target of posting this by the end of this week. Well, remarkably I happened to visit the Regen Projects to see another photographer's work and to my surprise, there on the bookcase, was a monograph on Gillian Wearer's life's work! I discovered that they had represented her work in the USA for many years! So I bought the book and that is my reward for my investigations. I am hoping that some folk in Europe will be able to visit the museum in Munich and share their impressions with us! Michael and Jerome, we're hoping each of you might take on the challenge!

In her photographs, many staged, she searches underneath the masks we wear to retain our privacy using any technique she can imagine. This turns British ideas of privacy up on its head as she persists in probing often beyond the boundaries of usual customary respect for people's secrets.

The exhibition is set at Pinakothek der Moderne in the Museum Brandhorst, Munich, in cooperation with Whitechapel Gallery, London, and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. The photos will be on view July 7th 2013.


If you want the truth, you might to to Capa Capa, Henri Bresson or the like. You could even choose to photograph what's of interest from enough angles and that will be the truth.




Gillian Wearing: Self Portrait at 17 Years Old
2003 Framed c-type print,
115,5 x 92 cm

Courtesy Maureen Paley, London,
Regen Projects, Los Angeles and
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York


In the 1990's, Gillian Wearing, a U.K. photographer, (born in Birmingham, U.K., 1963), was already getting strangers in the street to hold up sheets of paper in which they expressed their inner thoughts, fears, regrets or other secrets.




Gillian Wearing: I'm Desperate
“From Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and
Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say”

For her biography, read this.
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  #2  
Old March 9th, 2013, 09:56 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Watch this video, (you need Adobe player, try Chrome if Safari doesn't work), and then add your comments, impressions and favorite pictures of her work!

This is a different way of looking for the truth. She doesn't report like a crime scene reporter, but documents life by setups which probe our private thoughts to get at what we are really about. To me that's taking big risks and is worth looking at seriously.

Asher
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Old March 9th, 2013, 10:09 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Let's look at another set of Gillian's remarkable work, portraits that are not! Gillian photographed herself wearing masks of other people's faces. She conceals herself! So she wore other people's personae!

"In a 1994 video, members of the public responding to a small-ad invitation to "Confess all" donned party-style rubber masks in order to anonymously reveal misdemeanours, vices and personal traumas. ,A year later, Wearing filmed herself walking through a busy London street with her face completely bandaged.




"Based, as the title suggests, on a real experience, the true subject of this movie portrait is not the artist herself, but the reactions of those around her as well as the unknown woman who inspired the piece." In later works, Wearing conceals the identity of subjects through far more sophisticated means. At first, 'Olia' appears to be a sensitive, though fairly conventional photographic study of a naked woman. Yet there is something disquietingly unreal about the figure, and in fact, the image depicts a model 'clothed' in a latex cast of her own face and torso."

"In order to understand this portrait in any conventional sense we would literally need to delve beneath the subject's skin, and here, as in Sherman's work, the artist forces us to question the notion that photographic images are indeed authentic and absolute."




Gillian Wearing: Olia

These disguises were made in cooperation with the famous Madame Tussaud's Waxworks in London. Read more here on the ways in which she stamped these creations as "self-portraits" to force us to disassemble their origins.

Asher
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  #4  
Old March 9th, 2013, 10:21 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Then there's the weirdly erotic pinups!



Gillian Wearing: Rowena

From the Pin Up series, 2008

Acrylic on masonite in custom frame;
ink on paper, photographs under glass

31 3/8 x 37 7/8 x 2"


These pictures were exhibited July 12, 2008 – Aug 23, 2008 at Regen Projects, then at 633 N Almont Dr. now the Gallery is at 6750 Santa Monica blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90038
310.276.5424
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  #5  
Old March 9th, 2013, 10:51 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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"Prelude focuses on a young female street drinker named Lindsey, with whom Wearing became acquainted while filming her previous piece, Drunks. During the making of Drunks, Wearing discovered that Lindsey had died.



Gillian Wearing: "Still from "Prelude"

Shown at the Regen Projects Gallery,
December 9, 2000 – January 20, 2001

"Prelude" was made with segments of film Wearing had already taken of Lindsey and it is narrated by Lindsey's twin sister. In Wearing's work self-exposure is an act of self-representation and an opportunity for catharsis for both the subject and the viewer. ... Wearing's artistic contribution is not merely to have creatively provided a therapeutic vehicle for those who participate in her projects, but also to have provided the viewer a means by which he or she may catch themselves in the act of viewing and to hold up a mirror to his or her own need and desire to do so." (Corrin, Lisa G., Gillian Wearing. Serpentine Gallery, 2000.)


Going further on this project of looking at drunks she had come to know, she actually took statements from 5 lovers of one such person, Theresa. Read this from the Tate Gallery, London.

"The series consist of seven diptychs; each one juxtaposes a photograph of Theresa with one of her lovers and a photograph of each man's hand-written statementabout her. The images usually depict intimate moments, many of them centred around the bedroom."



Gillian Wearing: Theresa and Seamus

two c-prints, 20 1/8 x 20 1/8in. (51 x 51cm.) each

Executed in 1998, this work is number
five from an edition of five plus one artists' proof

Sold at Christies 20 October 2004
London, South Kensington
£4,183 ($7,537)

Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s
premium and do not reflect costs, financing
fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.




I need to find all the 7 images for you! If you can find the rest of them, post them here.

Asher
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  #6  
Old March 10th, 2013, 12:32 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
The exhibition is set at Pinakothek der Moderne in the Museum Brandhorst, Munich, in cooperation with Whitechapel Gallery, London, and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. The photos will be on view July 7th 2013.
Asher,

Just a minor correction to what you wrote:
The Museum Brandhorst is funded by a the Udo and Anette Brandhorst Foundation - a private foundation. The administration for both Pinakothek der Moderne and Brandhorst Museum is by the Bavarian State Picture Collection, but the funding is not the same.
Both museums are next to each other...

Best regards,
Michael
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  #7  
Old March 10th, 2013, 06:33 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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One might wonder if Gillian is using photography to document her art in preference to the photograph being the art itself. In the popular context she might be considered a very ordinary photographer but her subject matter is extra ordinary in the sense that it is somewhat revealing about the person involved. Photography here may be just the banner on which the concept is displayed, not really playing an active role as one might expect in the accomplishment of the framing, focus and timing. Her point of view is sterile, her framing lacks interest and is often seemingly careless and uncontrolled, her timing suggests a concept fulfilled before the click of the shutter. I would see Gillian as a documentary photographer; one of her own documents, created using her ideas on other people's presence and exposure. As a photographer she may be considered a poor crafts person. As an artist she may be seen as innovative and unique.
I make no judgement on her work here, only reflect the comments of others. My personal reflection for what it may be worth is that any of her photographs require some interpretation or explanation before the viewer can appreciate the message. In most cases, the message is a collective one over a number of pieces and they need to be taken in context.
Gillian's photos are admired greatly by the avant garde and the champagne sipping brigade. She is totally ignored and in fact scorned by the general public. I have a feeling she won't be mentioned among the greats in 20 years or so.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 07:09 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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The photography here is not what would attract me to go to the exhibition.
I also have the impression that the photography is a tool within the concept pursued by Gillian Wearing.

Not my thing, but there are others who might appreciate.

Best regards,
Michael
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I do not call myself an artist, I just try to capture what I see.
If you need many words to describe what your picture means, it doesn't speak enough for itself.
my photos on flickr - here is the portion posted in OPF.
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  #9  
Old March 10th, 2013, 12:12 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Photography here may be just the banner on which the concept is displayed,

Tom,

Glad to have this direct comment. I think that's a great representation of what's happening: the photograph merely allows performance art to be recorded and copied for shipping around the world, like a DVD allows for a play or a rock bands show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Her point of view is sterile, her framing lacks interest and is often seemingly careless and uncontrolled, her timing suggests a concept fulfilled before the click of the shutter. I would see Gillian as a documentary photographer; one of her own documents, created using her ideas on other people's presence and exposure. As a photographer she may be considered a poor crafts person. As an artist she may be seen as innovative and unique.
This is likely true of all her work and so puts the weight of value, if any, on the art community mining and celebrating discovered ideas behind "the face" we give to the outside world. If this delivers, then the art is "worthy". So far, her art has achieved more than cult status and holds increasing value, as you can see from the Christie's auction above!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
........any of her photographs require some interpretation or explanation before the viewer can appreciate the message. In most cases, the message is a collective one over a number of pieces and they need to be taken in context.
So are pictures of the Madonna and child. Without the knowledge of the story behind it, it's just a stylised picture of a mother and child with an adult-like head glowing with light.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Gillian's photos are admired greatly by the avant garde and the champagne sipping brigade.
True! LOL!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
She is totally ignored and in fact scorned by the general public.
Where do we find that?

Asher
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  #10  
Old March 10th, 2013, 04:30 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Quote:

Where do we find that?

Asher
Probably a bit harsh in my last comment, Asher. As with many contemporary conceptual artists their work is less than appealing or memorable to the general public because of its complexity. The majority of us ordinary people just want a nice day at the gallery with something not too testing hanging on the wall, something we can discuss over the chops and peas at the end of the day. Sales at Christie's isn't an indicator to a bus load of old biddies heading for the New Tate to see Turner in all his splendor. Gillian's art doesn't aim at this audience either. She is astute enough to know who might understand and appreciate her work and will project accordingly. You won't find much of her work in you copy of Popular Photography but you will in The British Journal of Photography, as you would in OPF and not in LS for expample.
I've seen her stuff in the UK and I certainly wouldn't take the time to see any more. I find her stuff curious but not sustaining, interesting but not memorable.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 05:41 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom dinning View Post
Probably a bit harsh in my last comment, Asher. As with many contemporary conceptual artists their work is less than appealing or memorable to the general public because of its complexity. The majority of us ordinary people just want a nice day at the gallery with something not too testing hanging on the wall, something we can discuss over the chops and peas at the end of the day. Sales at Christie's isn't an indicator to a bus load of old biddies heading for the New Tate to see Turner in all his splendor. Gillian's art doesn't aim at this audience either. She is astute enough to know who might understand and appreciate her work and will project accordingly. You won't find much of her work in you copy of Popular Photography but you will in The British Journal of Photography, as you would in OPF and not in LS for expample.
I've seen her stuff in the UK and I certainly wouldn't take the time to see any more. I find her stuff curious but not sustaining, interesting but not memorable.
Tom,

You seem to identify yourself with that busload on a day-outing, but likely as not you appreciate a far broader and diverse palette yourself.

Asher
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  #12  
Old March 10th, 2013, 08:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
The photography here is not what would attract me to go to the exhibition.
I also have the impression that the photography is a tool within the concept pursued by Gillian Wearing.

Not my thing, but there are others who might appreciate.
Michael,

I still would love you to visit the show for us and look around and even speak to folks and take pictures of them. Fortunately, she has not gotten you under her spell and you do not exist in such a bubble of self-delusion. So you can observe for us with a sober mind. You're a great documenter and we'd get new insights into the artist and her followers and those new to such work. One aspect of her photography I'd like to point to is the obviousness in which she declares that there's an "exposure" of outside versus inside or private v. public, true or false identity and the like.

In portrait photography, (as in Edward Weston's heroic work with the shells of dead creatures), the act of photography is a major esthetic experience in itself. The photograph is merely the flat, objective recording of all that effort! In Gillian's art, she inverts the process, so that we have no choice but to see, as it were, all the staples and flags and props needed to get to the moment the shutter is tripped. She shows us essentially a "holiday quality snapshot" of "what happened", so we're involved in that awkwardly intimate interaction between the photographer and the subject. The picture is suffused with the embarrassment of its production! What embarrassment you might ask?

As Richard Shusterman in Photography as a Performative Process* quotes Avedon:

"I have to engage them. Otherwise there's nothing to photograph. The concentration has to come from me and involve them. Sometimes the force of it grows so strong that sounds in the studio go unheard. Time stops. We share a brief intense intimacy. But......... when the sitting is over.....there's nothing left except the photograph...the photograph and a kind of embarrassment."

I'd argue that Gillian Wearer's ego is unsatisfied with the photograph on its own, but rather wants to force the viewer to be exposed to the essential embarrassment of portrait photography that's usually never disclosed to us. She does this and exaggerates it much like Diane Arbus with her frontal portraits of the insane.

As long as that shock value is achieved, Wearer has done her job! The photograph as a thing of beauty is nowhere in this reckoning! Despite this, I find her work important in helping us understand the very nature of photography and the great esthetic experience that can be felt, well before the shutter is ever released!

Asher


* The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism Volume 70 # 1 2002 p70
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Old March 24th, 2013, 03:10 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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  #14  
Old March 25th, 2013, 09:21 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Jerome,

What a treat! Thanks for bring this picture. Clever signage. I wonder how thick the letter are. such an impressive, clean and easily adaptable method.

............ didi you visit?

Asher
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Old March 25th, 2013, 09:38 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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did you visit?

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  #16  
Old March 25th, 2013, 09:58 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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O.K,, Jerome,

The composition is clean and satisfying. I'm hooked immediately. Is that a work of art displayed in the exhibition. she does not make sculptures like that? So, what are we seeing? A view looking down at the window from high inside the museum. So you entered!!!

Asher
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  #17  
Old March 25th, 2013, 03:01 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Jerome,

apparently you did not have any issues...

I am not that attracted - maybe this could change, but I would rather goto an exhibition of Ralph Eugene Meatyard (more here) - I think that he deserves a separate post.

Best regards,
Michael
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If you need many words to describe what your picture means, it doesn't speak enough for itself.
my photos on flickr - here is the portion posted in OPF.
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  #18  
Old March 25th, 2013, 06:25 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Jerome,

apparently you did not have any issues...

I am not that attracted - maybe this could change, but I would rather goto an exhibition of Ralph Eugene Meatyard (more here) - I think that he deserves a separate post.

Best regards,
Michael
Excellent links, Michael.

I'm up to learning more about Meathead. I like the fact that he didn't appear to be pretentious, but had a good sense of humor.

Here in the USA, there's little respect for institutional rules, mostly designed to get folk to the bookshop. Anyway, I can request that either of you take pictures for OPF. I do have great deference to feelings and wouldn't want to upset folk. A surreptitious snap like the view above, is not likely to be a worry by the museum. Their main interest is either "privacy", maintaining control of their market share of posters and sales at the bookshop.

I do respect your attitude of objection, it's correct. But I've been to the museum and, as I recall, they're not strict if one has a point and shoot sized camera and doesn't use flash.

I assure you, my wife would kick me or worse, if she caught me!

Asher
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